Fulbright Award Winner Norbaya Durr makes Elmhurst U. History

May 11, 2022 | by the Office of Marketing and Communications
Mary Kay Mulvaney, Norbaya Durr, Kelly Mikenas, Mladen Turk, Elmhurst University

From left: Elmhurst University Honors Program Director Mary Kay Mulvaney, 2022-2023 Fulbright Award recipient Norbaya Durr, Environmental Studies Program Director Kelly Mikenas, and Department of Religious Studies Chair Mladen Turk.

Elmhurst University senior Norbaya Durr ’22 has received a Fulbright U.S. Student Program award to teach English in Botswana for the 2022-2023 academic year. She is the University’s ninth Fulbright Student, its first recipient who is a woman of color, and the first who will be going to Africa.

“I feel incredibly thrilled and excited,” said Durr, a double major in biology and English who is also minoring in chemistry.

“I feel determined and serious, as I want to do my best in the position. I feel joyful, and hold within me so much gratitude and thankfulness for all the people who have helped me arrive at this point, I might burst. I feel ready for the challenges, the growth and the unknowns that it will bring.”

Durr received a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship to teach at a host institution in Botswana. Named a semifinalist earlier this spring, Durr worked together with faculty and advisors at Elmhurst throughout a highly competitive process to achieve the award.

“As Fulbright Program advisor, it is my privilege to work with accomplished young people like Norbaya,” said Mary Kay Mulvaney, who also directs the University’s Honors Program. “I know I speak for Norbaya’s three formal recommenders, Drs. Ann Frank Wake, Kelly Mikenas, and Bridget O’Rourke, in saying we are all so incredibly proud of this amazing young woman. We are thrilled that she will be representing Elmhurst University as our first Fulbright student in Africa.”

Elmhurst University Fulbright U.S. Students
GranteeField of StudyCountryYear
Oksana DidykResearch/EconomicsWest Germany1981
Jacquelyn JanciusResearch/Eastern European PoliticsHungary2000
Scott MorrisEnglish Teaching AssistantshipGermany2008
Elizabeth GlassEnglish Teaching AssistantshipPanama2010
Lauren WilliamsEnglish Teaching AssistantshipThailand2011
Michelle PetersenEnglish Teaching AssistantshipBrazil2013
Isabel Mercedes JuvanEnglish Teaching AssistantshipSlovak Republic2017
Rebecca VogtEnglish Teaching AssistantshipArgentina2018
Norbaya DurrEnglish Teaching AssistantshipBotswana2022

As a member of the prestigious Fulbright Program, which dates back to 1946, Durr will teach English and foster connections as part of an educational and cultural exchange.

Durr said she expects to travel and begin her assignment next January. It will be the next step in an academic career that she said has inspired her to contribute to a global society.

“When I first began my academic journey at Elmhurst University, I wasn’t an English major,” she said. “By studying English, I derive a great sense of cultural and social knowledge, adventure, exploration—and critical thinking skills that have forever changed me in ways I did not expect. I plan to provide the same opportunity for intellectual growth for students in Botswana.”

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